Racist, Anti-Woman Judge Edith Jones to Be Investigated for Alleged Racist Remarks

Chief Justice John Roberts is apparently not amused by the alleged racist antics of Judge Edith Jones, who sits on the extraordinarily conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, located in New Orleans. Roberts has ordered the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit to review a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct filed by several civil rights organizations related to disparaging comments Jones allegedly made about ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

It is rare that a judicial misconduct complaint of this nature is made public. According to Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle, this is one of only a handful of times that a federal circuit judge has been the subject of a public judicial misconduct complaint. Usually such matters are secret under federal law.

Given the jaw-dropping comments alleged in the complaint, however, coupled with the recent public outcry surrounding those comments, it’s no surprise that this matter will be aired publicly rather than behind closed doors.

According to the complaint, Jones delivered a lecture entitled “Federal Death Penalty Review” at the University of Pennsylvania on February 20, where she allegedly made a host of racist and ableist comments. Jones claimed that certain “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime” and are “prone to commit acts of violence” and be involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities. She also allegedly said that Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the United States than serving prison terms in their native country.

In addition, Jones expressed her affinity for the death penalty and her disgust at death penalty opponents, allegedly stating that capital-defendants’ claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and violations of international law and treaties are “red herrings” wielded by death penalty opponents. She also allegedly accused defendants who raise claims of “mental retardation” of abusing the system. According to Jones, the very fact that purportedly “mentally retarded” defendants were convicted of a capital crime is sufficient to prove that they are not “mentally retarded.”

Jones is also alleged to have claimed that the death penalty provides a public service to death row inmates because defendants “make peace with God” only in the moment before imminent execution.

The complaint also references an infamous incident during which Jones loudly slammed her hand on the bench during her colleague Judge James L. Dennis’ questioning of counsel during oral argument, disrespectfully asked Judge Dennis if he “wanted to leave” the courtroom during the argument, and told Judge Dennis that she wanted him to “shut up.” (Audio of that incident can be found here.)

While shocking to some, those familiar with Edith Jones’ antics expect this sort of behavior from her. When she’s not ordering her colleagues on the bench to “shut up,” she is writing some of the most virulently anti-woman decisions of any federal court judge in the country.

In a lone dissent in one case Doe v. Taylor Independent School District, Judge Jones wrote that a 15-year-old student who had been repeatedly molested by her high school teacher for over a year should not be permitted to sue school district officials because, even though those officials had been repeatedly informed of the teacher’s sexual harassment, whether a student has the constitutional right to be free of sexual harassment is “still vague.” According to Jones, there is “no broad constitutional purpose to be served by recognizing for [a victim’s] benefit a constitutional right not to have her bodily integrity compromised by a teacher’s sexual abuse.”

In another case, Jones suggested that sexual harassment is fine as long as the victim isn’t raped. In Waltman v. International Paper Co., Susan Waltman complained that she was groped and grabbed, propositioned, ordered to have sex with a co-worker by her supervisor, had pornography and tampons hung from her locker, and was dangled 30 feet over a stairwell by a co-worker who threatened to “cut off her breast and shove it down her throat.” The majority of the court ruled that the woman should be allowed to proceed with her sexual harassment claim. Jones, however, dissented. After hearing the behavior to which Waltman had been subjected by her supervisor and co-workers, Jones blithely stated, “They didn’t rape her, did they?” When an attorney brought up the fact that one of the victim’s co-workers had pinched the victim’s breast, Jones said, “Well, he apologized.”

Those familiar with the reproductive rights struggle in Texas are likely aware that Jones wrote the majority opinion in Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion v. Lakey, the Texas forced ultrasound case, which overruled the lower court’s decision that the sonogram law (HB 15) violates the First Amendment. According to Jones and her colleagues, requiring women who are seeking abortions to undergo a medically unnecessary and intrusive transvaginal ultrasound in the name of so-called informed consent is “reasonable” and “empowering.” Apparently, if women are not forced to undergo a procedure that amounts to forcible rape by the state, they will suffer dangerous psychological consequences once they realize what it is they have done. (Because, according to Jones, women aren’t smart enough to understand what it is that they are doing when they decide to terminate a pregnancy.)

Those familiar with Jones’ majority opinion in McCorvey v. Hill were likely unsurprised by her opinion in the Texas sonogram case. In McCorvey, Jones rejected the request by Norma McCorvey (the “Roe” plaintiff in Roe v. Wade) to reopen the landmark case, but penned a special concurring opinion in which she expressed her hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reevaluate Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey based on decidedly anti-science research about women’s mental and physical health following abortion—the sort of research that has wormed its way into state legislatures throughout the country, thus requiring doctors to lie to women and tell them that if they get an abortion they could get breast cancer or kill themselves.

Edith Jones is one of the most pernicious, racist, and anti-woman judges on the bench. Aside from the blatantly racist comments alleged in the Judicial Misconduct Complaint, she is well known for penning blistering dissents that promote anti-factual, sexist, misogynistic views about women and women’s rights. Fortunately, it seems as if her sordid history of abhorrent behavior is beginning to catch up with her.

One can only hope that the outcome of this judicial misconduct investigation will be impeachment.

Correction, June 13, 3:50 p.m.: A version of this article incorrectly stated that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is located in Texas. It is located in New Orleans. We regret the error.

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  • The Sheriff

    this lady is a joke

    • colleen2

      This lady was also (reportedly) on the short list for SCOTUS under both Bushes. and Reagan nominated her. If that doesn’t put the fear of a Republican president in everyone, nothing will.

  • OGalaxy


  • spectral_ev

    It takes religion to make execution a good thing for the victim.

    • colleen2

      well said!

    • Arachne646

      A particular kind of religion, mind you.

  • Grover Paul Weaver

    …at last something will be done. Society thinks of a judge as a god she isn’t.

  • AM

    The DSM probably has a category that applies to her.

    • HeilMary1

      And to Stanton Lore!

  • CAfan

    Wow, what a repugnant, despicable, intolerant creature Edith Jones is….She sounds like she should be a right wing talk show host…However, anyone this vile and racist has no place on the bench….Remove this animal

  • stantonlore

    So, which of her opinionated remarks are untrue? Exactly when will people look into claims of racial differences instead of branding people as racist who make claims of differences between races? Nobody disagrees that there are physical and physiological differences, such as bone structure, predisposition to certain diseases, height or athletic prowess. I have read current reports that find asians are smarter than whites and whites smarter than blacks. Am I racist to make this statement? I don’t think so.

    The judge has certainly had more experience in the areas on which she remarked than most of us. Dept of Justice statistics clearly reflect racial differences in the areas of violent crime and interracial rape. Black men are 6-7 times more likely to commit a violent crime than white men. More than 90% of interracial rape is by black men on white women. The judge is saying she believes there are racial differences in these areas that are acquired at birth, irrespective of environment. The statements are controversial, but are they false? This is an area nobody wants to discuss openly without regard for hurting anyone’s feelings or what is politically correct. People who have unpopular opinions in these areas ARE branded as racist. They should not be.

    • Tbone


      It’s not whether or not the statements are “true”. It’s her abhorrent opinion on pretty much everything. Like sexual abuse is no big deal. She shows a pretty apparent lack of impartiality that is the problem.

    • fredfnord

      > Am I racist to make this statement? I don’t think so.

      Well, it’s nice that you can absolve yourself of racism. I’m sure all of your racist friends are happy to do so as well.

      > The statements are controversial, but are they false?

      It was a good question, a hundred years ago. It has since been answered hundreds of times. And it’s funny, but when the person doing the answering didn’t start out (BEFORE the research) as an avowed racist who ‘knows’ that black people are inferior, the research tends to find no significant difference between different ‘races’ of people who have similar backgrounds. But when the researcher is someone like you, well, then, the data seems to always somehow fit his conclusions. Isn’t that strange?

      • stantonlore

        I did not absolve myself of racism. What I asked was whether I am a racist by reporting conclusions of others on racial differences including and intelligence. You took it someplace else. Nowhere did I say anything about being superior did I? I mentioned differences between races, but not one race being superior to another. Why is it that no matter I couch it, any attempt to discuss racial differences is perceived by some people as proof that I am a racist. You go further yet by mentioning my ‘racist friends.’

        Your hostility is typical and expected. Unwillingness to consider there may be IQ differences between races will be the major reason it remains a hot-button issue with little open dialogue. We stay politically correct, all equal, except where we are obviously not the same. You know – bone structure, athleticism, predisposition to certain diseases, among them. Or maybe you think the reason so few whites are in the NBA is that we just don’t try as hard as blacks?

        • Ella Warnock

          “Her” hostility is typical and expected? Oh man, that’s a good one. Gotta remember that when some racist is behaving in a typical and expected way.

          • stantonlore

            I did not say “her” hostility.

        • maiathebeegrrl

          It’s not about PC, it’s about having correct information. Go ask a biologist or anthropologist – race ISN’T EVEN REALLY A BIOLOGICAL CATEGORY, it’s a social category. Race overlaps with some of the few dozen ethno-descent groups which do actually have marked genetic differences, but that’s not the same. So, I reject your uninformed opinions as racist on their face, because they are.

          (Also, BTW, black men at 6 – 7 times more likely to be convicted of a violent crime, not 6 – 7 times more likely to commit one. BIG difference – that’s another reason you are assumed to be racist on your face: failure to pay attention to big, important differences in reality vs. your stereotypes)

          For instance, a better explanation for why there are so few whites in the NBA would be social ones – that perhaps young white athletes have far more alternative pathways to pursue, that they have every reason to believe they will be judged fairly in those alternative pathways, and because they are not disproportionately encouraged to see sports as the only arena they can be successful in.

          • stantonlore

            You are obviously naive about athletics and human anatomy. Whites in general have less dense bone structure. Why are there so few elite black swimmers? OK, opportunity is not great I will grant you. The point I am making is that there ARE differences between races not accounted for by environment. I am not saying anything about race superiority but yet I am accused here of being racist. I made my comments hoping to engage in respectful conversation. Yet, nobody so far is willing to accept that there may be biological racial differences. Going as far as to say that race is not biological. Amazing.

            you don’t have to ask an anthropologist whether blacks have better athletic skills for certain sports. Ask a high school or college coach. Did you see the movie “White Men Can’t Jump’? There is more than a sliver of truth to that statement, which is why anyone informed about baskeball, could laugh at the movie. Or, maybe white kids just don’t try hard enough, which explains why track and field is dominated by blacks. I don’t’ think so.

          • canaduck

            I like that you totally ignored comments from people debunking your theories about violence and rape and went straight to “er well, uh, they’re different physically, that’s all I meant.” Very game of you.

    • canaduck

      The point is that when they aren’t growing up in the typically shitty circumstances that so many racial minorities are forced into, the statistics change. Drastically.

      Let’s shift the focus: why have 99% of shooting rampages been carried out by white men? Would you agree that perhaps that has something to do with environment and upbringing, or are you actually suggesting that white men are, on a biological level, more prone to insane killing sprees?

      When yet another white man goes on a shooting rampage, we rush to find out why. Perhaps he was mentally ill, or he was rejected by too many women, or he was bullied. Maybe he was influenced by violent video games or music. (Note that I’m not suggesting that any of these remotely justify his actions; in fact, when we ask questions such as these we aren’t looking deeply enough into our culture.) But when a black guy robs a liquor store and kills the cashier, we already know why he did it. I mean, he’s black, and you know how THOSE people are.

      The problem with assertions such as those that you and Jones are making is that they are racist (and sexist) on a very fundamental level, perhaps even without your realizing it. When it comes to anything other than our cultural default “human”–a white man–you assume that correlation implies causation.

      • maiathebeegrrl

        Well stated.

    • Guest

      I think you are getting your statistics from a Faux news source.

  • Jack Hughes

    The woman is insane — in other words, a Republican.

  • Echo Moon

    WTF???? what in the hell is wrong with this woman? why hasn’t she been investigated and removed long before this? and what in hell is she doing helping to write a tx bill controlling a woman’s choice?

  • Echo Moon

    damn!!! next thing you know she’ll be on the republican ticket running for political office!

  • Anthony Belvedere

    1) The woman needs to be fired as a judge. Unacceptable levels of racism and misogyny. No compassion for victim, only concern seems to be for perp.
    2) A thorough mental eval is in order, for her safety and the safety others.